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The tendency to remain in bad relationships - abusive, hopeless, sexless, loveless, doomed - is known as the Sunk Cost (Concorde) Fallacy (or bias). Co-owning a business or property, shared memories, and especially co-parenting tend to cement this bias and pile it on top of traumatic bonding and a fused relationship.
We throw good money after bad just because “we are already invested” in a project. We watch an atrocious movie to the end because we have already spent an hour doing so. We eat food we have ordered even if it sucks. We keep clothes we never wear because we have paid for them. It is a particularly pernicious brand of loss aversion (proclivity to avoid waste). This utterly irrational behavior is motivated by malignant optimism: overestimation of the probabilities of positive outcomes if we just keep going or do something differently.
We are also afraid to look foolish if we admit to having made the wrong decisions consistently (“narcissistic injury”). We sometimes feel responsible and guilty for having made these decisions in the first place.
Of course the rational thing to do is to cut your losses and abandon the dysfunctional relationship. But - divorce statistics aside - surprisingly few do so in time. The results? Wrecked marriages, hateful exes, bruised children, and crumbling enterprises.
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)